April 15, 2016

The lack of snow this winter makes early spring hiking easier than ever. About 20 minutes north of North Conway, NH,  along Rt 302 are parking lots taking you to these four falls: Ripley (upper right) and Arethusa (behind me) being the most powerful of the four. Coliseum Fall (middle right) and Bemis Brook Falls (bottom left) are a bonus. And who doesn’t like a bonus? Fawn Pool (lower right)  appears a safe spot for a mid-summer dip.

Here’s another nice thing about Fawn Pool. It’s one of those ahh . . . spots . A spot I could see myself reaching for a picnic when I’m 80. Just a short hike up the Bemis Brook Trail from the parking lot. It’s important to plan forward, take note of the spots that will always be doable if nature feeds your soul while your body weakens. Keep a journal of those places lest you forget.

Arethusa Ripley Falls trails

The black line is route 302 north of North Conway. Note the green P. That is the parking lot you want for Ripley Falls. It is a paved road 0.3 miles from the first parking lot–red P.  The Ripley Falls hike is just a mile round-trip.

To get to the next three falls, do something illegal like shove seven women in a five-passenger vehicle to get from one lot to the next. Drive to the first red P  you see on the bottom of this map. The easiest route to see all three falls is to go up the Arethusa Falls trail keeping right. Return via the same trail but take the Bemis Brook Trail back to see Coliseum and Bemis Brook Falls and Fawn Pool.  

Of course, there are other, loftier options–loops  or putting one car at the first red P and driving up to the green P. That was our original plan. Be prepared to change plans while hiking according to the conditions of the trails (snow, etc. . .) and the comfort level and ability of each member of your group. Have fun!

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